Original post written February 27 2020
In this blogpost I want to share with you a recent painting which was quite a different experience for me. Something playful in me wanted to experiment, to become freer with the painting process - to play really! I began this large canvas quite tightly, with small detailed shapes, but it just wasn't feeling right at all. So I allowed myself to cut loose completely. I began painting with wide brush strokes, then layering the paint on the canvas, allowing it to drip down. Then rotating the canvas and allowing it to drip another way. It was so beautiful to watch the colours merging, interacting and almost communicating with each other. It was utterly mesmerising and time slipped by unnoticed.
I stood back, made myself a cup of tea, then looked again...I could see figures, many figures in caverns beneath a mystical Celtic landscape, the sea, the cliffs, hills.... I went back to work and began to highlight the elements that I could see, accentuating them, bringing them out of the mist.
Below you can see progress shots as I worked. Can you see the figures? I could also see two figures in a cave, one figure stood over a kneeling figure, as though an anointing or blessing was taking place. Or a sacred wedding with all of the guests arriving....there beneath a Celtic brooding landscape.
I was very much reminded of the tales of the Sidhe Fae. Sidhe (pronounced 'Shee') literally means "a mound". The Tuatha de Danaan are a Celtic mythological race meaning "people of the goddess Danu," Danu being a Celtic land or Mother Goddess. Other associated names for her were the Welsh "Don," Irish "Anu" or "Ana," "Mor-Rioghain," and "Brighid.
The Danaan people were associated with mounds, barrows and tumuli (small hills), they became known as the People of the Sidhe. Their association with the wind came from a belief in the Danaan presence in a whirlwind, "sidhe gaoithe," literally, a "thrust of wind." In the finished painting above, you can see a whirlwind type cloud in the sky, that has almost the shape of a man or woman. It feels like the Sidhe energy rising.
The more common, widely-known name of "fairy" came from the unwillingness of people to call the Sidhe or Danaan folk by their name, for that was considered bad luck. Euphemisms such as "hill folk," "the gentry," "wee folk," "good folk," "blessed folk," "good neighbors," or "fair folk" abounded, and "fair folk" was shortened to "fairies."
The Sidhe folk were associated with many supernatural abilities. Believed to live side by side with the human world, both beneficial and harmful interactions would take place. Fairies were often thought to be interested in stealing people, especially babies of new mothers, and if someone became ill, they could be accused of being a "changeling," left by the Sidhe in place of the original healthy person.
Fairies, however, were also very welcomed when they helped the poor, did chores, left money for people or bestowed on them great talent, so they weren't always considered mischievous! I feel this figure in the cave are bestowing a gift upon the other, amidst great ceremony.
I could feel a mischievous playful energy in the painting process of this piece itself - a return to a freedom that had been curtailed through schooling and society. I enjoyed embracing it. How might you embrace that playful energy in yourself this week? It certainly made me feel lighter in myself so perhaps allowing it back into your life can lighten you too!
I can also feel a very serious anointing, a bestowal of a gift or talent and the great ceremony around it in the painting. This week, I have been tending to my creative spiritual space by making a beautiful altar in my room, embracing the ritual of being with the symbols that emerge in dreams and in paintings, allowing this creative energy to flow more freely and without shame. I've had some interesting dreams in that regard since doing that. I know the mail is getting long, but I want to share one particular dream with you!
I am a small girl and I am in the room with a bespectacled bearded man, he is perhaps 60. He seems friendly and erudite, the walls are lined with books. I am drawing a picture. He suddenly grabs me and shoves me up into a dark attic. I am frightened and terribly sad. I am left there for a very long time.
The dream cuts to a woman, an artist. She has come down from the attic and has been told not to paint. It is forbidden. The world is full of zombies/vampires - if they come at you and lick you or bite your neck, you turn into one! One needs to be very careful. It feels like a dark dystopian world. I seem to be undercover as a maid and I paint in secret. There are good men who move my paintings around for me at night. I know there was much more that happened in this bit, but I cannot remember the details.
The final scene of the dream, again takes place in the attic. The small girl emerges from her attic bedroom into the attic kitchen where the woman is. She is her mother. Both are me. There had been two separate rooms, but now the rooms are joined together and the two are united. The kitchen is warm, cosy and nurturing. It is safe to be creative here.
I love this dream....it feels like two parts of myself coming together at last. The attic in a dream often represents the subconscious mind or the higher self. There is more to feel into in this dream, more courting of the symbols to do.
I got to thinking...so many of us have parts of ourselves that were not allowed. Parts of us that were shamed and shoved up into a symbolic dark hidden attic, safely kept away from the world. But these parts are the parts that we need to retrieve, the parts that will make the world a better and more authentic place, rather than a mediocre place. This week, I urge you to create a simple sacred space. Collect items from around your home that symbolise something to you. Gather candles, incense, a piece of art or whatever else feels right. Feel into the question of what part of you has been hidden away? What part of you is ready to be revealed? Meditate on this Sidhe painting, the anointing and blessing and ask for it to be returned to you with joy and ease.
Allow yourself to be yourself.
This original painting measures 80cm x 80cm and is available for sale. It has been created using acrylic paint on deep edge canvas. It costs €980 and I am always open to people paying in instalments if that works best as I understand it is an investment piece.
Mandala Artist and Healer based in Dublin, Ireland. www.healingcreations.ie